Miserable people have the habit – it is something inevitable, otherwise it will become impossible to live – to fantasize beautiful things, either about the past or about the future. The present is always miserable wherever you are, it is misery that surrounds you. To escape from that misery, at least to forget all about it, the best opium is to think with nostalgia about the past – the wife that you have left behind, the children, the beautiful home, the coziness, the security, the safety. All those sweet things which may not have happened at all; you may have just created them, invented them. Or, if you don’t have much past and you cannot paint anything on the past, then the future is there – a vast canvas. You can always think of a beautiful tomorrow. If the yesterday is not worth painting, then you can always paint the tomorrow. It is always there.
And this is the way man has been avoiding the present. But to avoid the present is to avoid the real cause of it all.
The new inmate at the mental hospital announced in a loud voice that he was the famous British naval hero, Lord Nelson. This was particularly interesting because the institution already had a Lord Nelson.
The head psychiatrist, after due consideration, decided to put the two men in the same room, feeling that the similarity of their delusions might prompt an adjustment in each that would help in curing them. It was a calculated risk, of course, for the men might react violently to one another; but they were introduced and then left alone, and no disturbance was heard from the room that night.
The next morning the doctor had a talk with his new patient, and was more than pleasantly surprised when he was told, “Doctor, I have been suffering from delusion. I know now that I am not Lord Nelson.”
“That’s wonderful,” said the doctor.
“Yes,” said the patient smiling demurely, “I am Lady Hamilton.”
One can change from being Lord Nelson – one can become Lady Hamilton – but there is no change at all. That’s what people are doing all over the world. They change their religion, they change their wives, their husbands; they change their jobs, they change their outer situations. And again and again they are surprised – nothing is changing. The misery persists, it remains the same. In fact, the more they change outer circumstances, the more they become aware of one thing: that the misery is not going to leave, that it is going to be there. Their frustration becomes more settled; their failure becomes their very lifestyle.
You ask me: “Osho, can you tell me what to do?” You have done enough. Now, be done with it all. No more doing. Move from doing to being, become a little more aware. Wherever you are – in the family, with the family, or somewhere else – wherever you are, become more aware. Try to be now and here…this moment, this silence.
Don’t move from “thisness.” It will be difficult in the beginning; every small distraction will take you away. Just a bird starts calling and you are distracted. You cannot accept it; immediately you find an excuse. You start thinking what bird it is, and then the whole chain – the sound of the railway train, the traffic noise, anything is enough to take you away from the now. And that is the root cause of misery: to be there and then. And the only source of bliss, the only source, I say, is to be now and here.